Town Swarmed by filming
By Craig Campbell
Dundas Star News Staff
Producers of Swarmed, the thriller filmed in Dundas over the past two weeks, made the rare decision to keep the community’s name intact. Jacqueline McNeilly of Hamilton’s film liaison office said it’s not common at all for a production to keep the name of a town it films in. But for Swarmed, it was the right thing to do.
Ed Hanna, production designer for Swarmed, dropped into the Dundas Star News office last week to pick up a mocked-up front page of the local paper to use in the film. The movie’s Dundas police chief will be shown reading the newspaper and eating lunch in a local restaurant when he is attacked by a swarm of killer wasps.
“It’s supposed to be in Indiana,” Mr. Hanna said. “We decided to go with the name Dundas, rather than the fictional name in the script.”
He explained that the original script set the story in a small town called Woodlands. But after the production team settled on Dundas as the film’s sole location, they decided the effort and expense of covering up every sign and reference to Dundas just wasn’t worth it.
“Just to disguise a name? What’s wrong with (Dundas)?” Mr. Hanna said.
So when Swarmed is released – Mr. Hanna wasn’t sure whether it will be released theatrical or as a television movie – the story will take place in Dundas, Indiana.
Fourteen days of filming were scheduled, between Oct. 23 and Nov. 9, with all of it taking place in Dundas. The bulk of the filming was in the Dundas Driving Park. This is the setting for the fictional Dundas’ big annual barbecue cook-off, sponsored by a major barbecue sauce company. But the party is ruined by a swarm of mutant yellow jackets, accidentally unleashed by scientist Kent Horvath, played by 34-year-old Vancouver native Michael Shanks. Mr. Shanks has appeared in the Stargate SG-1 television series and several small films.
Scenes were also filmed in downtown Dundas, The Thirsty Cactus, and the former Dundas town hall – which relives its former glory by standing in as the Dundas, Indiana, town hall.
The production team used the 200-year-old building at 2 Hatt St., built by one of Dundas’ first residents, Richard Hatt, as their production office during the film shoot.
Mr. Hanna said that the Ontario government offers tax credits for productions filmed outside of the Greater Toronto Area.
“That makes Hamilton and Dundas very attractive,” he said, explaining that Swarmed producer Richard Schlesinger fell in love with the community while scouting locations outside the GTA. Mr. Hanna said the small town feel is exactly what Swarmed’s script called for.
Swarmed is directed by Paul Ziller and also stars model Carol Alt [presumably as entomologist Christina, who teams up with Kent to contain the swarm], who has appeared in Catch Me if You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio, and Private Parts with Howard Stern, and Richard Chevolleau as Q, Kent Horvath’s good friend and pest control expert.
The shoot in Dundas had a personal interest to Mr. Hanna, who returned to see the former home of his grandparents on Dundas Street.
Dundas Star article